Pepsi’s “Refresh Everything” Debrief

Hello all!

This is for all of you who have participated at some point in “The Sheol Express”’s PEPSI REFRESH EVERYTHING campaign, and voted for us to win $5,000 that we need to finish post-production.

Many of you have watched, voting faithfully, as we slid in the rankings, from #6 to #20 over the course of a couple of weeks.  It was a heartbreaking process, and we tried many tactics to try to boost us back up, but for some reason we weren’t able to get ourselves up in the ratings!

Before I give you a detailed run-down of the events, the end point (brought up front for you busy, “employed” people) is that in the two months that we were campaigning for $5,000 from Pepsi, three investors have come forward and invested over $13,000 in The Sheol Express, meaning that we’re on our way to completion, and will be done in the beginning of June. It doesn’t feel quite as cool and communal as being able to say “YES, with ALL OF YOUR help, we won $5,000 from Pepsi,” but it feels pretty darn good to be able to say “This film is going to be finished with the best workmanship possible, we’re going to get to pay our artists semi-fairly, and we will be able to travel to a couple of film festivals.”

Awesome, huh?  That’s the short and sweet of it, if you want a blow-by-blow, keep reading!

Many of you have questioned me – “are we even working on this anymore?”  “Why haven’t you sent out another e-mail?” “isn’t it time to kick people in the butt and let them know it’s time to finish this up?”   Let me explain a little.  First, comically enough my e-mail account was marked as a “spammer” quickly after the 1st of March, so my e-mail urging capabilities were limited.

Second, we actually had the great pleasure of meeting a couple internet mavericks named Damian and Kyle, who have several YouTube channels, some of which regularly generate over 100,000 hits to each of their videos.  They contacted us, loved the film’s concept, and set out to generate traffic to our Pepsi page.  They each posted several videos urging people to vote for the film that generated tens of thousands of hits each, and we can only think that at least a fraction of the people viewing voted.  This means that we must have had thousands and thousands of people voting for the film… and yet, we continued to slide in the rankings.

This leads me to think that:

1)  The public didn’t resonate with our idea, as it didn’t have “homeless people”, “go green”, or “puppies” in our title.  Fair enough.

2)  The other ideas hired Chinese server farms to simply vote every day.  Ingenious, although the part that makes me mad is we literally had offers from both people with access to Chinese bots and a group of Russian hackers, but turned them down in the interest of fair play.

3)  There’s actually a Pepsi conspiracy against our film, because it was revealed that Diggory Venn drinks Coke.

4)  These sorts of contests are really just brilliant ways for huge corporations to turn people like me into word-of-mouth machines, begging for the scraps from their table in return for sending thousands of my friends to their site.  I’m not bitter.  Not at all

So, in the end, I just wanted to throw out a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who gave their time, effort, facebook statuses, twitter feeds, blog posts, and hyperlinks to our project.  Your effort and belief in this project is moving, and means a lot to us.  Add this to the $13,000 if independent equity that we had invested in the film, and I’d say we had a pretty good run. 

I’ll settle for that.

Again, thanks for all your guys’ support, and be sure to keep up with us on this blog, or using the ways listed below!

Ryan

Facebook Fan Page: “The Sheol Express”

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thesheolexpress